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Jordan raises ‘exceptional’ marriage age from 15 to 16


Jordan’s parliament on Monday amended marriage laws to allow judges in “exceptional” cases to permit minors to wed from the age of 16, up from a previous minimum of 15.

The move was approved by both the house of representatives and the senate.

The country’s minimum marriage age is 18 under normal circumstances — but unions involving minors can be granted by a judge, so long as they meet a string of conditions, including the consent of the girl.

Women’s groups in Jordan have long campaigned against the marriage of minors.

Last week, Human Rights Watch urged Jordan’s parliament to forbid the practice, noting that the “vast majority” of cases involve girls rather than boys.

“Jordan should seize the opportunity to prevent child marriage and enforce the minimum marriage age of 18 without exception,” the rights group said in a statement.

HRW’s deputy Middle East director Michael Page said “child marriage robs girls of their childhood and puts their health and education at risk.”

According to justice ministry data, 77,700 marriages took place in Jordan in 2017, among which 10,434 cases — some 13.4 percent — betrothed a girl under the age of 18.

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